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Brain Res. 2001 Jan 19;889(1-2):112-7.

Involvement of the amygdala in classical conditioning of eyeblink response in the rat.

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Psychobiology Research Unit, Department of Psychology, Tel-Aviv University, 69978, Tel-Aviv, Israel.


The two-factor theory postulates that classical conditioning proceeds through two stages, which support successive acquisition of emotional and motor responses. Emotional conditioning is thought to facilitate the subsequent acquisition of the motor response. This form of interaction between the two stages of learning can be investigated while considering the central role of the amygdala and the cerebellum in emotional and motor conditioning, respectively. Rats with bilateral lesions of the amygdala or the cerebellar interpositus or intact rats were subjected to a fear conditioning session followed by four eyeblink conditioning sessions. Another group of intact rats was subjected to eyeblink conditioning only. The CS in the fear conditioning session was a 73 dB tone, paired with a 100 dB noise-US. The same CS was paired with a periorbital electroshock-US during eyeblink conditioning. Results showed that fear preconditioning facilitated the subsequent eyeblink conditioning among the intact groups. Amygdaloid lesions abolished this facilitatory effect of fear conditioning. These findings demonstrate that amygdala-mediated emotional conditioning facilitates the subsequent acquisition of cerebellum-mediated motor responses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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